MEPs sitting on the regional development committee have rejected a proposal that would have allowed public subsidies to be spent on fossil fuel infrastructure projects under the European Regional and Development Fund.
The rejection came as part of the Regional Development Committee of the European Parliament’s vote yesterday on the proposed Cohesion Package. The report will decide on how to divide up a budget of €336 billion intended to develop regions, provide transport solutions, renewable energy and structural reform.
Markus Trilling from the CEE Bankwatch Network said: “we applaud members of the regional development committee for today’s clear signal that fossil fuel subsidies have no place in the EU’s regional development funding.”
“MEPs have made their pro-climate intentions for the forthcoming EU budget negotiations clear, and they must insist that member states drop any plans to lump fossil fuels back into EU funding pots destined for energy efficiency and renewable energy,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Committee also strengthened European Commission proposals by supporting an increase from 6% to 12% of regional development funds to cater for ‘low-carbon’ development in less developed regions and from the original 20% in developed and tranistion regions to 22%.
Sébastian Godinot, chief economist at WWF, said he was pleased with the committee’s conclusions which were “clearly more ambitious” than the European Commission and Council of Ministers. The Cohesion Policy Package must now be negotiated between the Parliament, Commission and Council before agreement is reached.
This is just a small step in the right direction against channeling more public money into fossil fuels. Some 80% of the total energy subsidies in the EU-15 are paid to fossil fuels and nuclear energy according to the European Environment Agency, while just 19% cost to renewables.
For every $1 of government support given to renewable energy around the world, at least $5 are given to fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency.
This post was amended on 16/07/2012 to more correctly state figures and percentages. EWEA strives for the utmost accuracy in all its publications.